This comment of the day is from Eli, on the post An Open Letter to My Son About Sex. It was in response to commenter Scott Heathcote, who wrote: “You seem to assume that males are more influenced by their sexuality, and somehow less able to control themselves.”
As a transgendered person, I want to address one piece of your comment, and that’s the idea that men are “less able to to control themselves” or what the original author described as feelings that “can be especially strong for boys and men.”
Most people only get to experience sexual desire in their natal sex. As an FtM trans person, I can attest that being on testosterone has greatly changed my sex drive and therefore my beliefs about how much of the “male sex drive” is socially inculcated vs. biological. I used to believe that it was purely the former – that if you raised boys and girls on a beautiful gender-neutral isolated island (think Schwarzenegger’s character in “Twins”), they would all come out free of gendered roles or behaviors. And perhaps for some things they would. But I can no longer deny that one simple chemical can have a profound effect on libido. Am I able to control myself? Yes. But it takes much more effort—-one I would describe as nearly Herculean at times, perhaps because I am still new to these feelings. Making “the smart decision” is definitively tougher, and that’s with the frontal lobe development of an adult. I cannot fathom how tough this is for adolescent boys going through “natural” puberty and have a newfound respect for them! So yes, testosterone does create a stronger sex drive, and that presents challenges. Scott, I’m assuming you’re male given the name, and therefore you have only the male sex drive for reference. The female one is not only lower but different—it’s less randomly urgent, for lack of a better descriptor. So I think the author is right to acknowledge that she understands horniness, but that she also probably has a more muted experience of it than her adolescent son does/will.
Image: MCAD Library / flickr